My kids always feel the same about going to school, but when I told them they’d be going to a different kind of school—ski school—well, you can imagine their excitement. My husband and I are skiers, and introducing our kids to the sport has always been on our minds, but winters would go by without us going. This year, though, we vowed it would be different. So when a sunny day was in the forecast, we played hooky and took the kids to the slopes. We chose Jack Frost, which is the companion mountain to Big Boulder (a few miles down the road) and has more trails with varied terrain, perfect for all skill levels. I had been a few times pre-kids, and now, I was looking forward to seeing their family-friendly side. From rentals to well-groomed trails and a great instructor, Jack Frost had everything we wanted, and by the end of the day, my kids felt confident enough to do a bunch of runs solo down the bunny hill (proud mom moment for sure). Read on for more about our day on the slopes and how Jack Frost Big Boulder ski resort is an ideal place for families who ski or want to learn. (featured photo taken at Jack Frost Big Boulder)
A family-friendly ski day for beginners and pros
Situated in the Pocono Mountains, just a few hours from New York City and about an hour from Philadelphia, Jack Frost Big Boulder was the first commercial ski resort in Pennsylvania and the first place to use commercial snow-making. While Big Boulder is the original mountain, Jack Frost opened as a companion mountain in 1972 and has been catering to generations of families ever since. After a little over two hours’ drive, we arrived, and there was plenty of snow on the ground and clear paths to get to where we needed to check in. The resort was easy to navigate, and the staff was accommodating. Because my husband and I hadn’t skied in years, and the kids had no experience, we made our first stop at the on-site rental shop.
Getting into gear
The rental shop was decorated with a rainbow array of ski equipment. Once in the shop, there are options to rent ski boots from children’s size 6 to adult size 17. Skis are available from 77cm to 180cm, snowboard boots from children size 13 through adult size 15, and snowboards from lengths of 80 cm-165 cm. Our whole family rented ski boots and skis, and my husband and I also picked up poles. Poles are not recommended for ages 10 and under because children are learning to balance and focus on their form first. It was easy to find the right fit, and it wasn’t long before we were out on the mountain.
Making magic on the mountain
Jack Frost has a summit elevation of 2,000 feet, a base elevation of 1,400 feet, and a vertical drop of 600 feet. Since it was our kids’ first time, we liked the resort’s size—there are 20 trails (4 easier, 6 more difficult, 8 most difficult, and 2 terrain parks)—so it didn’t feel overwhelming. To get our bearings, we sat down and ate the lunch we had brought home at a picnic table outside while looking at the trail map. We also looked at the EpicMix App, an interactive trail map with real-time weather, on-mountain GPS, and resort and safety information.
After our lunch, the kids were excited to get their skis on and learn how to go down the bunny hills. They met with their instructor, Eric, who patiently taught them the basics of skiing before going to the mountain. My husband and I snuck a few peeks at them from a distance, and it was so fun to watch their confidence build. We couldn’t believe how confidently they got onto the ski lifts, and by the end of their two-hour lesson, they blew us away with how well they skied down the hill will a real sense of accomplishment. I would definitely recommend ski or snowboard lessons if your child is new to the sport; it not only takes the stress off of trying to teach them but also builds independence. My kids absolutely loved it.
While the kids took their lessons, my husband and I explored different trails, which were well-groomed and easy to navigate. It was a beautiful winter day, and the conditions were ideal for skiing. Since we went on a weekday, it wasn’t crowded, and I found it very peaceful being outside with only the sounds of skis and snowboards in the snow. My husband and I had a blast getting back into skiing (it’s like riding a bike–you don’t forget), and having a few hours to ourselves was also an excellent way to spend the afternoon together.
Overall, we had a great day, and the best part was seeing how successful our kids felt after learning to ski. It was amazing to go from starting the day with them wearing their first pair of skis ever to the day ending with them confidently skiing down the mountain to show off their newfound skills. This trip was more than just a family experience—it also taught patience, life skills, balance, taking turns, trying new things, and facing a few challenges. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a sunny winter day.
What To Know Before You Go
Jack Frost Big Boulder has two mountains with a few slight differences. While Jack Frost is bigger with more varied terrain and lifts, Big Boulder offers a smaller experience with a higher elevation and bigger base elevation. What is a big difference are the hours—Jack Frost is open 9 AM – 4 PM on weekdays, and Big Boulder opens at 3 PM – 8 PM on weekdays. During the weekend, both resorts open at 8:30 AM, but Boulder stays open until 8 PM. Both have rentals available online, and we stayed up to date on everything by checking the website for snow and weather reports, lift and terrain status, and mountain cams. There are lockers available to store your items—we found that we could fit everything for the whole family in one locker, even backup dry clothes if needed. The mountain recommends helmets for everyone, not just kids, and they can be rented or purchased at the ski shop. Though we brought our food, we did see that there were two full-service restaurants open on-premises. For more of a sit-down and après-ski scene, there’s the E-2000 Bar & Grill, the JF Cafe, and The Frosty Toboggan. And I highly recommend downloading the EpicMix app—it allows you to make reservations and provides an interactive trail map, real-time weather, on-mountain GPS, resort, and safety information.
Jack Frost Ski Resort
434 Jack Frost Mountain Road, White Haven, PA 18661
Big Boulder Ski Resort
357 Big Boulder Dr., Lake Harmony, PA 18624
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